For Domenic Fragomeni and Chad Leek, the quest to open a restaurant began on a basketball court. The two met during a pickup game of hoops in 2008, during which they discovered that they both had a passion for entertaining guests and getting trounced by the Harlem Globetrotters. Their friendship eventually blossomed and led to the foundation of a casual fine-dining spot in downtown Akron—a place where busy professionals can grab a quick bite during lunch and diners can savor a gourmet meal for dinner.
The duo's menu of hand-cut steaks and fresh seafood springs from the sauté pan of Chef Josh Pere and the old-world recipes of Olympia Fragomeni; more than 20 inventive martinis flow from the shakers of a team of experienced bartenders.
The Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians and the 2009 champs of the Eastern League, the Akron Aeros opened the 2011 season with the debut of Homer, a cuddly purple polka-dotted pigeon mascot. As the season draws to a close, Aeros catcher Chun Chen has impressed Aeros’ fans over 100 games, logging 62 RBIs, 14 homers, and a career-best 1.7 hot dogs eaten per inning. During the game, Groupon getters can cheer on the team while wearing official Aeros hats and fanning the mustache fires of nearby spectators with a handy media guide.
Peer up at the menu, and jump-start your morning with a breakfast pita, such as the morning glory, comprised of avocado, eggs, tomatoes, home fries, grilled green peppers, onions, and your choice of cheese and zesty sauces ($5.85). Don't feel ashamed if your morning happens to be what other people call the afternoon, since breakfast pitas are served all day.
Crowned the Best Irish Pub of 2010 by CityVoters, Brubaker's serves up an extensive menu of pub edibles alongside a lively atmosphere and TVs sporting the latest in athletic endeavors. Quiet nagging hunger mufflers with appetizers such as barbecue-chicken potato skins ($5.75) and the super pretzel with mustard, salsa, or nacho cheese ($2), or tongue-dive into a specialty dish, such as the chicken cordon "bru" ($6.75), the buffalo-chicken wrap ($5.50), or the mega dog ($4). Brubaker's burritos wrap various fillings in the fresh-baked arms of nine-inch tortillas and come in varietals such as the Popeye ($5.50), a hulkifying combination of spinach-artichoke dip, tomatoes, onions, shredded cheddar, and ranch dressing. Brubaker's also offers a wide-ranging beer selection to indulge the fermented fantasies of Prohibition-era taste buds.
To reach their table at Spaghetti Warehouse, guests commonly have to step through two doors: the front door of the restaurant and the door of the antique trolley parked inside. Since its inception in 1972, the Italian eatery has merged the functions of kitchen and museum. Artifacts such as grandfather clocks, factory flywheels, and circus billboards surround diners as they delve into signature plates of 15-Layer Lasagna or hand-rolled meatballs. Apart from the items they've amassed, each of the buildings also has a particular history, from the one-time ice-manufacturing plant in Columbus to Memphis's Civil War munitions depot. Given their storied pasts, it's no surprise that several of these venues house their own ghosts—at Houston's warehouse, for example, elevator lights have been known to flicker, objects are mysteriously found in new locations, and a lady in a white gown is said to roam the restaurant.
Yet the main attraction of the place is the delicious food. Like any great Italian meal, made-from-scratch dishes are created from family recipes passed down for generations via email. Guests devour the perfectly al dente pasta, crispy calamari, bottomless soups, and 12-layer chocolate cakes while dining with family and friends. It’s that feeling of togetherness that people love about Spaghetti Warehouse, a feeling that is only enhanced when the drinks start flowing and the air is punctuated by the sounds of laughter as kids play retro games, such as The Claw prize-grabbing machine.
Metro Burger's premium patties come in one shape but three sizes: $5.75 for a third-pounder, $7.25 for two-thirds of a pound, or $8.75 for the plate-abusing one-pound pattybomb. Once you've sized up your stomach, move on to the meat. Patty options include beef, ground chicken breast, turkey burger, or special house-made veggie burger. Slap it between wheat, egg, or pretzel buns, and cheese it with blue, cheddar, swiss, havarti, pepper jack, American, provolone, or smoked gouda. Then, choose from 16 free toppings (such as pineapple and tomatoes) and 12 special sauces (including chipotle-ranch and horseradish mayo) to give your creation life before immediately taking it away. Burger combo classics are also available for diners who refuse to create a Frankenburger. Click here to see the full menu of massively customizable eats.
The Office provides enough delicious eats and drinks to stuff the belly’s briefcase to the buckle. Appetizers entice professional palates with sophisticated options—such as wasabi-stuffed shrimp cocktail and seared scallops with asparagus and mushrooms (both $10.95)—but also assuage simpler salivations with comforting pre-dinner fare such as wings ($7.95 per dozen), loaded Irish nachos ($8.95), and herb-and-parmesan fries ($4.95). Once your mouth is warmed and ready, direct its incisor specs to the entrees like temporally displaced Napoleonic soldiers toward a Russian teahouse. Bacon acts as the ambassador of turf-born protein on the otherwise surftacular plate of pan-seared salmon and lobster, which swims in a sea of tomato-compound butter ($17.95). The mushroom and swiss burger ($7.95) and flat-iron steak ($15.95), on the other hand, stand their ground as terra firma edibles. Lighter bites that are equally heavy on flavor include the mesclun salad, which is a fresh toss of strawberries, candied pecans, dried cherries, feta, and balsamic vinaigrette ($6.95 for a full).